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Coal supplies at power plants getting better

Power News - Published on Thu, 28 Dec 2017

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Coal stocks at power plants have reached a comfortable level of nine days which can be considered out of critical levels, according to power executives. This follows acute supply crisis for several weeks which forced several power companies to shut down units. According to Central Electricity Authority, stocks are considered critical if it falls below five days for pit head plants while for non pit head plants the threshold is less than a week.

In fact, according to CEA, there are no pit-head plants with critical stocks while in the non-pit head category there just about 10-odd plants against 27 two months ago.

All these plants, however, are receiving supplies regularly and a senior Coal India executive said it will take some time before these plants start to build up stock as the fresh supply of coal is almost entirely being used up for generating power.

A Coal India executive said that "On the loading side, Coal India has been loading anything between 275 and 280 rakes a day including loading from private washeries and goods sheds. Direct loading from pit heads have been hovering around 250 rakes a day and we are aiming to increase it to about 270.”

A senior NTPC executive said that "Supplies have improved considerably and a large number of our units at power stations have been brought back on stream. These units were either operating at very low capacity levels or were idling due to lack of coal. We have been receiving additional rakes since the last few days which has helped us scale up generation."

Another executive from an independent power producing company said that "Supplies have regularised and are increasing at a slow and steady pace. We are now being able to plan better since we know how much coal we are to receive on a daily basis."

Factors that helped improve stocks at power plants include onset of winter leading to reduced demand in pockets as well as increased production during winters. However, land acquisition issues at Rajmahal mine area under Eastern Coalfields in West Bengal is still affecting coal production. Law and order issues at collieries under Central Coalfields have also been affecting loading to a considerable extent.

Closure of a 34 kilometre railway track stretch between Dhanbad and Chandrapura in Jharkhand has been affecting supplies. The alternate route being used involves moving coal on trucks to another loading area which has been affecting supplies from the region.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Thu, 28 Dec 2017
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